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Smoke Continues To Plague Mother Lode

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Thick, acrid smoke continues to plague the foothills around Sonora, Twain Harte and Murphys. The smoke was exceptionally noticeable this morning, hanging in the low drainages and in the trees, cutting visibility dramatically.

Forest Service fire information spokeswoman Maggie Craig says smoke from three large fires are causing the pollution. The fires are all in remote locations, and were sparked by lighting this summer. They´re being allowed to burn as part of the Forest Service´s Fire Use Management Plan.

Air quality monitors have been set up in Murphy´s and in Tuolumne City. The monitors are placed in areas where Forest service officials had received the most calls complaining about the smoke. Craig says a possible change in the weather this weekend might help lessen the smoke problem.

Interested residents can monitor the smoke level readings by going to the U.S. Forest Service Website: From there you can click on “Fire Use-Incident Information” and find “Interagency Real Time Smoke Monitoring.”

You may also call the Stanislaus National Forest Sonora office at (209) 532-3671, Extension 343, for more information.